War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0654 Chapter LV. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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attack of from 5,000 to 7,000 men, but it was disgracefully given up. The expedition sent out by General Kelley to Moorefield was without my knowledge, and was on the bragging system, which always embraced too many combinations, and turns out to be bad stategy after guerrillas in a mountainous country.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, U. S. Army.

Brigadier General L. THOMAS,

Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

No. 2. Report of Major C. Seaforth Stewart, Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, of the defenses of New Creek.


December 9, 1864.

SIR: In accordance with instructions received from the commanding general on the 5th instant, I proceed to New Creek, Va., and have the honor to make the following report:

The position of New Creek is at the intersection of the valley of the New Creek with that of the Potomac, the general direction of the former being from southwest to northeast, and of the latter from northwest to southeast, or nearly at right angles. The New Creek valley is bounded on the east by a range of abrupt wooded hills or mountains, some 800 or 900 feet high, immediately at the base of which the creek runs. This steam is in general shallow, with stony bottom, of very variable width, from twelve to forty feet or more, and is reported easily crossed at most points. The main road or approach from the southward follows the west or left bank, and is said to be for miles good at and cleared for a width of some 300 or 400 yards, then rises gradually for about the same distance to a range of steep wooded hills or mountains, forming the western boundary of the valley, the practicable width of which averages probably half a mile. At the northern extremity of this valley, and nearly at right angles to it, is a ridge some 200 feet high, separating it from the alley of the Potomac. This ridge is about 500 yards long, and closes the New Creek valley, leaving, however, at each of its extremities a gap some 300 or 400 yards in width. The one at the west end afford passage-way for a wood road; the other is nearly closed by a spur or lower continuation of the ridge, at one point leaving merely room for the main road and the bed of the New Creek. To the northward of the ridge, and a parallel to it, is the Potomac valley, a mile and a half in length by from one half to three-quarters of a mile in width, the river being on the north side. Beyond the Potomac the ground rises rapidly to a wooded table-land about 250 feet above the river. This plateau is terminated at the eastward and westward by the ranges bounding the New Creek valley, which also closes the Potomac valley, leaving passage for the river, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (which bisects the valley), and for a road to Piedmont, &c. The Potomac is from forty to sixty yards in width, rapid, and fordable at three or four points in the valley, the bottom stony. At once ford the depth was about three feet. The village is at the east end of the valley.